Books: Unlucky Jim

STEPPING WESTWARD by Malcolm Bradbury. 390 pages. Houghton Mifflin. $4.95.

Thou callest trousers "pants," whereas I call them "trousers,"

Therefore thou art in hellfire and may the Lord pity thee!

Thus Samuel Butler eased a case of culture shock he contracted on visiting the North American continent in 1874.

Since then, a great tidal wash of malice and misunderstanding has oscillated in the Atlantic. Malcolm Bradbury's Stepping Westward is the latest fictional flotsam on this tide. It is a pointed little farce, and as cultural anthropology it offers a thoughtful thesis to such British and...

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